Is Hindi being imposed on the states of the Indian Union that don’t speak the language? For the past few weeks, a range of people living in South India have made this claim, arguing angrily that the Union government is forcing the Indo-Aryan language onto Dravidian-speaking states.
On Monday, former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy demanded the cancellation of the state celebration of “Hindi Day” calling it an “underhanded method” to impose Hindi. This comes after viral protests by activists – including many celebrities – in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka asserting that they “don’t know Hindi”.
It is unclear what is the proximate trigger for the protests. While some activists have claimed that they are responding to the Union Government’s proposed national education policy – which would make Hindi compulsory via what is called the “Three Language Formula” – in reality, the Three Language formula has been in place for more than five decades now and the Modi government has made no change to it.
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